AirAsia Food Delivery has touched down in Singapore. Here’s everything you need to know, from its pros to credit cards to use to maximise rewards.
It’s a sign of the times that airlines have had to resort to some unconventional measures to stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic.How unconventional? Well, your next food delivery may arrive courtesy of AirAsia.
No, that’s not a typo, nor an early April Fool’s joke. AirAsia now offers food delivery in Singapore, just like Deliveroo or foodpanda. The fledgling service launched here in early March with 80 restaurants (and 300 more to come), and it’s looking to take on the big boys with lower commissions and free delivery.
Let’s take a closer look at this new service, its key advantages over the competition, and what cards you can use to earn the most miles.
What’s AirAsia Food delivery, and how it works
AirAsia Food delivery works like any other delivery service. Browse restaurants, choose your food, place your order, and wait. The main difference you’ll notice compared to other platforms like GrabFood and Deliveroo is the inability to track your order in real time. AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes considers the absence to be a feature, not a bug, saying it helps keep operating costs and hence prices low.
AirAsia Food offers delivery from restaurants up to 20km away (versus the usual 2 - 6km for other players). From now till 16 March 2021, you’ll enjoy unlimited free delivery for orders within 8km of your location. The platform has not yet launched any promo codes, but I fully expect we’ll see some soon as they battle for market share.
Delivery times are quoted as no more than 60 minutes, but I think you should moderate your expectations on that promise, as every platform is likely to encounter teething issues in its early days.
The selection of restaurants will be nowhere as wide as competitor platforms, but that’s a problem which will gradually diminish as new merchants sign on. There's a good reason for them to do so: AirAsia Food charges a commission of just 15% (versus 25 to 35% for competitors).
In addition to ready-to-eat food, AirAsia hopes to muscle in on other segments of the delivery market as well, soliciting registrations from beauty, fashion and fresh produce retailers.
Can I earn or burn AirAsia points?
Given the association with AirAsia, customers will be glad to know that they can earn and redeem BIG points through AirAsia Food.
The relevant rates in Singapore are:
- Earn: 1 BIG point for every $0.30 spent
- Redeem: 405 BIG points for every $1 (Special rate till 16 March 2021: 125 BIG points for every $1)
This is equivalent to a rebate of 0.8% (2.7% until 16 March 2021).
However, if it’s airline miles you’re after, I’d wager that you’d be happier off with foodpanda or GrabFood.
foodpanda customers can earn 1 KrisFlyer mile per $1 spent, with a minimum spend of $20. foodpanda periodically runs limited-time offers that double this earn rate; for example, from now till 31 March 2021 you can earn 2 KrisFlyer miles per $1 spent when you choose self pick-up with the promo code 2KFMILES.
Likewise, GrabFood customers earn between 2 to 4 GrabRewards points per $1 spent, and 1,000 GrabRewards points can be redeemed for 100 KrisFlyer miles. The effective earn rate is a paltry 0.2 to 0.4 KrisFlyer miles per $1, but I’d argue that KrisFlyer miles are much more useful to someone in Singapore than AirAsia BIG points.
That said, if you plan to order with AirAsia Food anyway, it costs you nothing at all to earn those BIG points so be sure to input your membership number.
What credit cards should I use for AirAsia Food Delivery?
AirAsia Food Delivery should code the same as GrabFood, foodpanda or Deliveroo, i.e MCC 5812 Eating Places & Restaurants. This means that someone following a miles collection strategy can use the following cards to maximise returns.
|DBS Woman’s World Card||4 mpd||Capped at $2,000 per calendar month|
|Citi Rewards Card||4 mpd||Capped at $1,000 per statement month|
|HSBC Revolution Card||4 mpd||Capped at $1,000 per calendar month|
|UOB Lady’s Card||4 mpd||Capped at $1,000 per calendar month|
|UOB Pref. Plat Visa Card||4 mpd||Capped at $1,000 per calendar month|
|KrisFlyer UOB Card||3 mpd||Must spend at least $500 with SIA group each membership year, no cap|
Someone collecting cashback, on the other hand, could use the following cards instead:
|OCBC 365 Card||6% cashback||Min spend of $800 per calendar month, capped at $80 per calendar month|
|Citi Cash Back Card||6% cashback||Min spend of $800 per calendar month, capped at $80 per calendar month|
|UOB YOLO Card||8% cashback||Valid for transactions made on Saturdays and Sundays (otherwise 3%), capped at $60 per calendar month|
If you spend a lot on food delivery each month, do keep an eye on the respective caps and spread out your spending accordingly. Remember that some caps are relatively more ‘flexible’ than others; for example, the DBS Woman’s World Card gives 4 miles per dollar on all online spending, while the HSBC Revolution only awards it on certain categories like online food delivery, groceries and travel.
Therefore, you’d want to spend the HSBC Revolution’s cap on food delivery where you can, and conserve the DBS Woman’s World Card’s more flexible cap for other types of online transactions.
AirAsia’s foray into food delivery may seem unexpected, but airlines are having to think outside the box during these extraordinary times.
While one could argue that Singapore doesn’t really ‘need’ another food delivery platform, more competition is good insofar as it forces incumbents to offer more generous promotions and lower commissions for restaurants.
Time will tell if AirAsia Food really has what it takes to shake up the already congested food delivery market in Singapore.
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